Among Youngkin’s executive orders was an action to “investigate wrongdoing in Loudoun County,” which also received national attention for a politically explosive school sexual assault case. The lot also included an order to ’empower Virginia parents in the education of their children’ by letting them decide whether their children should wear masks at school, in another nod to his gubernatorial campaign. . Youngkin was helped to victory by his opponent, McAuliffe, saying “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should be teaching” – a widely perceived gaffe that Republicans quickly pounced on.

Youngkin also said he would “declare Virginia open for business,” echoing nationwide conservative opposition to measures to curb the spread of the Covid-19 Omicron variant, such as store closures. schools and the wearing of masks. In Florida, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has used similar language, garnering conservative support by warning against measures such as lockdowns.

The orders included a withdrawal from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multi-state effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There was also an order to establish a commission to combat anti-Semitism and another to combat human trafficking in the state.

The subject of education was an important part of Youngkin’s Inauguration Day speech. He spoke of optimism for the future and a movement fueled by “the tenacity and courage of Virginians”, including parents, students and teachers. He also nodded to the impacts of school closures due to the coronavirus.

“We know the impact on children who have fallen behind because their classrooms have been closed for too long, and the pressure on parents, especially mothers in Virginia,” he told the crowd at the State Capitol in Richmond.

He pledged to “raise the standards” of education in Virginia, including raising teacher salaries, creating “innovation labs and success charter schools” within the public school system, and investing in students with disabilities.

“We are going to take politics out of the classroom and get back to what matters,” he said to loud applause. “And we will focus on essential math, science and reading. And we will teach our whole history, the good and the bad.

Another topic of Youngkin’s speech was the “too toxic” nature of politics today.

“We have lost the ability to respect each other,” he said, adding that people should “disagree without being disagreeable.”

Tyler Weyant contributed to this report.